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Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War?
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Sex/gender violence
  • 2. 'Rape as a weapon of war'?
  • 3. The messiness and uncertainty of warring
  • 4. Post-coloniality, victimcy and humanitarian engagement: being a good global feminist?
  • 5. Concluding thoughts and unanswered questions

About the Author

Maria Eriksson Baaz is associate professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, and a senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. Her research interests are in African politics, security and development, post-colonial theory and gender. Recently she has focused on masculinity, militarization and defence reform interventions, with a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is the author of The Paternalism of Partnership: A Postcolonial Reading of Identity in Development Aid (2005). She has also contributed to several edited volumes, such the International Handbook on African Security (2012), and has written numerous policy reports. Additionally, her articles have appeared in leading journals, including International Studies Quarterly, African Affairs, Journal of International Relations and Development, Journal of Modern African Studies, and African Security. Maria Stern is professor in peace and development studies at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. Her research interests are security studies, the security-development nexus, politics of identity, and feminist theory. Recently she has focused on masculinity, militarization and defence reform interventions, with a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maria co-edited a special issue on the 'Security-development nexus revisited' in Security Dialogue (2010). She is also co-editor of Feminist Methodologies for International Relations (2006) and the author of Naming Security - Constructing Identity (2005). She has contributed to several edited volumes, such as the International Handbook on African Security (2012), and has written numerous policy reports. Additionally, her articles have appeared in leading journals, including African Affairs, Alternatives, International Journal of Peace Studies, International Political Sociology, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of International Relations and Development, Journal of Modern African Studies, Review of International Studies, and Security Dialogue.

Reviews

'This is a theoretically rich and entirely unique book that will force scholars and practitioners to rethink the way they study, talk about, and respond to wartime sexual violence. The authors break new ground as they move past depictions of the inherent nature of men and women, tired victim/perpetrator dichotomies, and simplistic, racialised and neo-colonial depictions of rape within war. This book will challenge feminist scholars in particular to untangle themselves from dominant - often paternalistic, racist, and essentializing - narratives associated with wartime sexual violence. Eriksson Baaz and Stern put their finger precisely on the problems with, and limitations of, existing analyses of sexual violence as a tool war; in doing so, they open up space for novel thinking about the intersections of race, neo-colonial politics, gender, militarization, and violence.' Megan MacKenzie, The University of Sydney 'In the last decade have we all crafted and wielded a too-cohesive, thus oddly too-comforting, story about wartime strategic rape? Weighing their rare interviews with Congolese male soldiers, Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern push us all not to sympathize with perpetrators, but to think seriously about the messiness of both war waging and storytelling.' Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War 'In challenging conventional wisdom about "rape as a weapon of war" the authors shine a penetrating light on the roots of a tragic yet profoundly misunderstood phenomenon. With the stated purpose of "expanding our grids of intelligibility", this painstakingly researched, tightly argued and disturbing inquest is likely to generate a fair amount of controversy among social scientists and humanitarian activists. This is one of its principal merits. Whether or not one agrees with the argument it sets forth, this important book is sure to radically alter our perception of the causes and implications of sexual abuse in the African continent.' Rene Lemarchand, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Florida 'Wartime rape has always been an under- recognized facet of conflicts and human insecurity, and serious policy responses have been long over-due. Simplistic presentations and lack of analysis establish a universalizing narrative that can marginalize individual's experiences and agency, ultimately limiting our analyses of sexual violence. Drawing on evidence largely related to the conflict(s) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - "the rape capital of the world" - Baaz and Stern interrogate simplistic notions of rape as a "weapon of war" and provide readers with deeper, alternative understandings of sexual violence. The authors provide a thoughtful and troubling engagement with one of the most brutal aspects of modern conflicts. Deconstructing the dominant narratives, they produce a post-colonial feminist reading that is succinct and powerful. This is a much-needed intervention and an excellent contribution to understanding conflict, in the Congo and beyond.' Kevin Dunn, Department of Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges 'It is no cliche to say that this book is groundbreaking in both its aims to unsettle mainstream understandings of rape in war, as well as to provide compelling insights into the social and contingent dimensions of militarised and sexualised violence. While many will find this book politically uncomfortable reading, it represents a paradigm shift in how we comprehend the sexual violence/war nexus, and as such poses a major challenge to policy makers, practitioners and scholars working in this field.' Paul Higate, Reader in Gender and Security, University of Bristol

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